Return to Transcripts main page


Biological Dad Fights For 4-Year-Old; Ariel Castro Found Dead; Making The Case For Syria Strike; Rethinking His Allies; Car Into Crowd On Venice Beach; California Principal Released; Hunters Has Record-Setting Gators

Aired September 4, 2013 - 07:30   ET


RANDI KAYE, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Brown is Cherokee, but in June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the federal law didn't apply to this case. The adoption was finalized July 31st.

MATT CAPOBIANCO, ADOPTIVE FATHER: We know better than anybody how it feels to have to hand over a child, and you know, we understand the pain and what they're going through, but one way or another she's going to come home.

KAYE: Instead Brown has moved Veronica to Cherokee tribal land guarded by Cherokee marshals.


KAYE: Now there's a gag order in the case so it's hard to know exactly what's taking place inside those hearings, but following yet another hearing on the case yesterday. Late last night South Carolina was granted a request to file a brief with the Oklahoma Supreme Court on behalf of the couple Capobiancos.

South Carolina's governor has already weighed in basically asking the court to lift the emergency stay and send Veronica home to South Carolina with her adoptive parents. What is so amazing here is that four courts, including the highest court in the land, has ordered that she be returned to the Capobiancos and somehow Dustin Brown managed to hold onto her and stay out of jail doing so.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: That's the part that amazes me. The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled on this and they're defying that at the moment. Only thing can be described as a legal mess at least.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: And dealing with two of the most messy categories in the law, custody dispute and native versus domestic law.

KAYE: Absolutely. I think that's why it's such a big issue because a lot of people are being careful about the fact that he's part of the Cherokee tribe.

CUOMO: Right, and a very dark history in this country with how children from the tribes have been treated.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Randi. CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, a shocking development in the Cleveland house of horrors case, notorious kidnapper, Ariel Castro found hanged. How could this happen? Wait until you hear what his family has to say.

BOLDUAN: And also ahead we told you about two record-breaking alligators caught in Mississippi. No doubt the catches are impressive, but the hunts are controversial.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY. It is Wednesday, September 4th. Let's get right to Michaela for your top news.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: All right, breaking overnight, convicted kidnaper Ariel Castro is dead. Correction officials in Ohio said he was found hanging in his prison cell. Castro was serving life behind bars plus 1,000 years for kidnapping three women and holding them captive in a suburban Cleveland home for nearly a decade.

President Obama is in Sweden right now as the decision to intervene in Syria looms on Capitol Hill. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee taking up a revised bill limiting the authorization to 60 days, with an option for an additional 30 days with no boots on the ground. Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Joint Chiefs Chair General Martin Dempsey set to testify before the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Egypt's interim president rethinking who his real friends are. In his first TV interview, Ali Mansour called out Turkey and Qatar who strongly condemned the military's ouster of democratically elected President Mohammed Morsy. He also rejected claims deposed President Hosni Mubarak's regime is making a comeback.

That man who police say drove into a crowd of people in California's Venice Beach returns to court today. Nathan Campbell pleaded not guilty to killing an Italian tourist and injuring nearly a dozen others in the incident last month. Police say he intentionally aimed his car at the boardwalk on a crowded Saturday night. If convicted Campbell could get life in prison.

John McCain busted playing poker on his iPhone during a Senate hearing an on Syria yesterday. A "Washington Post" reported snapped the photo to prove it. The Arizona senator is unapologetic. He later tweeted, "Scandal! Caught playing iPhone game at three plus hours Senate hearing. Worst of all, I lost!" Those are your headlines at this hour, at 7:37. Let's talk to Kate now.

BOLDUAN: Thanks so much, Michaela. Let's turn now for more on the major breaking news overnight, convicted Cleveland kidnaper Ariel Castro found dead hanging in his prison cell overnight. Let's talk more about this and what this means for the victims specifically with psychotherapist, Dr. Robi Ludwig.

Doctor, thank you so much for coming in. No one obviously saw this turn coming for good reason. So you have this news, but you also look back to the last time, we heard from Ariel Castro in court and that disjointed, convoluted, twisted statement that he made. What do you think brought him to this point, grief, relief or something more --


BOLDUAN: That's why people are having a hard time with it.

LUDWIG: My sense is that Ariel Castro is probably somebody who contemplated suicide a lot and his ability to be able to torture these girls and control them and act out on these abhorrent fantasies helped him to feel powerful and avoid suicide. So now he's in a situation where he's not in control and he's a bit of a control freak so suicide can be a way to take your fate back in control and another element too, defiance. He wasn't going to let anybody else punish him. He would take matters into his own hands. There was hostility there as well.

BOLDUAN: Talk about a twisted mind-set for sure. Even his cousin who Chris spoke with earlier in a very emotional interview, she even tried to keep the focus, while we talk about the news. She even wanted to keep the focus on the victims, which is obviously very important here.

LUDWIG: Right.

BOLDUAN: How do you think even though obviously we're not involved with anyone's recovery and everyone has their own recovery and it's very specific to them, how do you think this news impacts their recovery?

LUDWIG: I would imagine that they're feeling numb and in shock and probably have a range of emotions from feeling glad that this man can't hurt anyone anymore, can't hurt them anymore to feeling angry that he somehow side-stepped being punished and maybe even feeling guilty because they had wished him dead for so long and it's probably a bit different for Amanda Berry because she had a child with this man. So that presents additional complications. Does she tell her child? How does she deal with it in terms of her child's healthy development?

BOLDUAN: Even Ariel Castro's cousin on the show talked about a sense of relief. She almost felt bad feeling that way in light of someone's death. If you were working with any of these women, how would you break the news to them about this? Some of them already know.

LUDWIG: Right. I think in a very black and white way that Ariel Castro committed suicide by hanging himself in prison and just black and white any thoughts about that because they're going to have a reaction to it. And I think they also need to know that just because this man is dead, the recovery process is not over for them. It's a different chapter and part of their recovery process.

BOLDUAN: It doesn't necessarily change or eliminate the need for their recovery.

LUDWIG: That's right.

BOLDUAN: You cannot erase the pain that he caused.

LUDWIG: That's right.

BOLDUAN: And the injury he caused for so many years.

LUDWIG: That's exactly right. So just because he's dead doesn't mean they'll not be struggling. It adds a new dimension to it. It's good they're getting professional help so that they can deal with it in real time.

BOLDUAN: It's good we have you on the show to help us.

LUDWIG: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Dr. Robi Ludwig, great to see you. Thank you so much -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right, coming up on NEW DAY, a popular elementary school principal arrested in connection with her husband's death. Police insist they have the evidence, so why is Leslie Chance free? We'll go through it.

And see you later, massive gators. We've shown you two enormous record-setting catches, but the hunt's come with some controversy. We'll take you through that, too.


CUOMO: We have a stunning twist for you in the case of that California principal arrested in the shooting death of her husband. Leslie Chance was scheduled to be arraigned, but this morning, she is a free woman, released from prison without being charge. Police say the investigation is far from over so what's going on.

CNN's Stephanie Elam is in Los Angeles with the very latest for us this morning. Good morning, Stephanie.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris, Kate and Michaela. It seemed like officials have put together an air tight case that they had the evidence and then a surprise.


ELAM (voice-over): Leslie Chance, the school principal arrested in the shooting death of her husband is a free woman this morning. She was released from jail last night after prosecutors declined to press charges against her at this time. The District Attorney's Office returned Chance's case to the Kern County Sheriff's Department seeking further investigation. Her attorney told CNN his client seemed --

KYLE HUMPHREY, PRINCIPAL'S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Rational, afraid, in shell shock as it were, lifted out of her world and put into jail. You don't become a school principal if those types of things happen.

ELAM: But the sheriff's department sounded confident the right person was brought into custody and says it has the evidence. RAY PRUITT, SPOKESMAN KERN COUNTY SHERIFFF'S OFFICE: We did recover a firearm, a handgun from inside of the vehicle, inside of Mr. Chance's vehicle, which was found abandoned in the neighborhood.

ELAM: The body of 47-year-old Todd Chance was discovered in an almond orchard. Police believe after killing him Leslie Chance dumped his car some 20 miles away. The story is jolting Bakersfield. Leslie Chance has been the principal of Fairview Elementary for three years and in the school district since 1997. She remains on bereavement leave from her job at the school. Her attorney, a former prosecutor, has come out swinging.

HUMPHREY: The best that I can hope for is that we have somebody doing a good investigation on the other side. Sloppy investigations lead to a lot of people's lives being wronged and unfortunately, when you arrest the wrong person on a murder case, it's almost impossible to ever arrest the right murderer.


ELAM: Todd and Leslie Chance have three daughters, and they put out a statement basically saying that they are grieving their father, but they are also supporting their mother at this time. No word yet on whether Leslie Chance will attend the funeral of her husband, which is scheduled for later today -- Kate and Chris.

CUOMO: All right, Stephanie, so some more to come there, but what a change and what we felt the direction would be.

BOLDUAN: Exactly. All right, thanks so much, Stephanie.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, two different gators both caught in Mississippi, both tipping the scales around 700 pounds. But what one hunting team plans to do with its enormous catch.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY. Not one, no, but two massive record-breaking alligators caught in Mississippi this weekend. We told you about them Tuesday, each weighing more than 700 pounds. Well, now, we'll hear from the hunters who caught those massive beasts. So, how did they do it? The only man to take on that task will be "EARLY START" co-anchor, John Berman.

JOHN BERMAN, ANCHOR, CNN'S "EARLY START": How do they do it? Very carefully. I can tell you one interest group not at all happy about this, the alligators. The hunters clearly thrilled inspired no doubt by the rash of gator hunting reality shows and what they found this time, a mammoth creature, more than two feet longer than the average American gator.


BERMAN (voice-over): At more than 13 feet in length and weighing in at 727 pounds, this gigantic gator caught in Mississippi is a state record breaker. That's a little more than nine fifth grade boys. Not bad for Dustin and Ryan Bockman, immature gator hunters.

RYAN BOCKMAN, CAUGHT 727 LB. ALLIGATOR: Family got home and checking record books and taking measurements of them when we realized that we had a fairly large gator.

BERMAN: Just one hour earlier the old record of 697.6 pounds had been broken by a female gator weighing in at 723.5 pounds.

BOCKMAN: We actually tried for three hours to get this gator in a boat and we couldn't do it. We had to drag him to a sand bar and sit and wait for Cole's dad and another friend to come and help carry him into the boat.

BERMAN: Gator hunting has grown in popularity thanks to shows like "Strong People" on History Channel and "Gator Boys" on Animal Planet. However, the sport is not without controversy. Many states require tags or licenses to hunt alligators, however, there is also a lottery each hunting season and that's open to anyone regardless of training or expertise. What will the Mississippi gator guys do with their larger than life catch?

BOCKMAN: Probably have a bunch of stuff made for people who dealt with getting him and help getting him weighed and everything, and have a lot of gator meat to go around.


BERMAN: A lot of gator meat to go around. So, what does alligator taste like? Chicken, chicken, it always tastes like chicken. Seriously, I'm told it taste like a cross between chicken and rabbit. The best meat apparently is in the tail, I kid you not.

BOLDUAN: Really?

BERMAN: Very true, yes. I have been checking some high cuisine sites and they say the tail meat is precious. It took so long to get this alligator out of the water that one of the girlfriends of the man sent him a text message at 4:00 in the morning because she was so worried asking, are you still alive? Barely. That gator was huge.

CUOMO: One of the points of fascination of watching "Swamp People," which is that they shoot these alligators and they'll say, I bet this thing weighs 400 pounds and then a technique of bending the head over and then slide these things.

BOLDUAN: I have not seen it. Is the gator alive at this point?

BERMAN: No. The interest group most upset about this is the gator.

CUOMO: You only have a quarter-size target on the top of the alligator's head to kill it in a humane manner. Will he do it and every time they go to commercial right before they do it and every time I'm like I don't know what's going to happen.

BERMAN: You owe to America, Chris Cuomo, the dramatic re-enactment you did of these shows during the -- America needs to see you acting out "Swamp People."

CUOMO: I'm a big fan. He has signature line and a bobble head doll now.

BOLDUAN: Signature line, Chris.

CUOMO: Shoot him, shoot him, a small alligator thrashing next to these little row boats.

BOLDUAN: Speaking of tastes, have you ever had it?

BERMAN: I kind of rolled around with a very small alligator, but I've never eaten one.

BOLDUAN: I cannot believe you didn't bring a photo in. Can you? Inquiring minds want to know.

CUOMO: I've had it.

BOLDUAN: Is there anything you haven't tasted?

CUOMO: Many things. I had it fried and different ways they make it, especially down there in Louisiana.

BOLDUAN: We'll have it on the show next. Thank you so much, John Berman.

CUOMO: Have to kill it yourself though.

BOLDUAN: Well, then that's going to be different.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, the drum beat to an attack on Syria is getting louder than ever as the president takes the case to the world. What could happen to the Middle East if the U.S. pulls the trigger?

CUOMO: Plus, shocking news out of Ohio. Ariel Castro found dead hanging in his cell. We'll have the breaking details at the top of the hour.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It will be so much easier. You don't deserve that.


CUOMO: Breaking overnight, Ariel Castro, the man who held three women captive in Cleveland found dead in his prison cell. We have all the breaking details.

BOLDUAN: Making his case. President Obama arrives in Europe and he's set to speak this hour trying to win support here and abroad for a strike against Syria. We'll bring it to you live. PEREIRA: Thrown from the car, one young woman's nightmare. She says she was arrested unjustly handcuffed, thrown in a cop car and then tossed out of that car. We have the videotape.

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY continues right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not a declaration of war, but a declaration of our values to the world.